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New Scam Targeting Target Data Breach

Target customers reeling from a data breach contend with a new scam. ABC News reports Target says scam artists are trying to take advantage of the data breach that exposed tens of millions of credit and debit card accounts. They masquerade as Target's corporate offices and send sham messages to affected customers, hoping to steal from them again. The retailer says it will post all official communications on its corporate website.
Meanwhile JP Morgan Chase is putting charge limits on cards that were used at Target stores during the massive security breach. The bank is raising those daily limits to a thousand dollars in purchases and 250 dollars from ATMs. ...

Gold Bar Discovered in a Red Kettle in Michigan City

A one-ounce gold bar was found in a Salvation Army red kettle in Michigan City on Friday. Officials report the gold bar was discovered at the Walgreen's, at U-S 20 and U-S 421, wrapped in a one-dollar bill and has since been sold to a private buyer for 13-hundred dollars.
A one-ounce 1993 gold coin valued at approximately 13-hundred dollars was dropped into a Salvation Army red kettle on Friday at a Strack and Van Til in Cedar Lake and the Porter County Salvation Army reported receiving a gold coin in red kettle at the Strack and Van Til, on Calumet Avenue in Valparaiso, on Saturday. That coin was accompanied by a Christmas card with Santa Claus on front, signed "The Bright Metal Society", and identifying the gift as an 1883 Queen Victoria gold coin. ...


Gary Mayor Announces Dollar Home Program Recipients

Gary KFW with winners
(Photo Courtesy of Nick Russ. Mayor Freeman-Wilson, (left)
congratulates Dollar Home recipients Milton and Silvia Willis.)
In a press conference in Gary today six Gary residents out of 25 applicants were chosen to receive a new home for just a dollar. Silvia and Milton Willis were one of the couples chosen. Silvia Willis, a life long Gary resident, says after living in an apartment in the Miller area, this would be their first home. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson announced the results of the Dollar Home Drawing and says the dollar home recipients must live in their homes a minimum of five years.
Gary Dollar home 2a
(Photo Courtesy of the City of Gary. The home that the Willis’ won
is located in Gary’s University Park area.)

Applicants for the lottery had to meet certain criteria such as employment and income in order to be considered for the lottery. A new lottery will be held next summer where more applicants are welcomed to apply. ...

New Research About Food Allergies for Pregnant Women

New concern about food allergies. Research out this week suggests eating peanuts or tree nuts during pregnancy cuts a child's risk of allergies, contradicting previous advice that pregnant woman should avoid nuts.  ABC News Senior Medical Contributor Doctor Jennifer Ashton says obstetricians, pediatricians are saying go ahead and in moderation eat these foods that are considered allergens. There's really no strict data at this point that says you should avoid them.
And what should do you if your child is allergic to nuts? Doctor Ashton says first of all see a pediatric allergist. Get your child tested. If they are diagnosed with a real food allergy make sure you have multiple Epipens all over various locations. Make sure people know how to use them and speak to your child's pediatrician about having other medications like steroids, Benadryl, antihistamines, on you or with that child because preparation is key. It can be very scary and to be clear, life threatening....

Brrrr... A Very Frosty Christmas in the Region

Chicagoland is bracing for its coldest Christmas in 9 years. Today's high is expected to only reach 17 degrees around the Region, but wind chills will make it feel like 12-below. Temps are expected to go up a little overnight tonight.  Here are some low temperature observations from the early morning hours courtesy of the National Weather Service Chicago:

NOUS43 KLOT 241538
940 AM CST TUE DEC 24 2013 /1040 AM EST TUE DEC 24 2013
-10     DEKALB IL
-9      PAW PAW IL
-6      ELGIN IL
-5      BATAVIA IL
-5      AURORA IL
-5      OTTAWA IL
-3      PONTIAC IL
-2      DWIGHT IL
-1      MIDWAY 3SW IL
0       WATSEKA IL
4       PAXTON IL


Holiday Greetings to the Region from Our Troops

Below is a link to video holiday greetings from Hoosier members of the Armed Forces stationed all over the globe, a service provided by the Department of Defense. You can keep checking back for more videos, too.  - then click on Indiana (or any other state) for hometown holiday greetings
Check the site through this link, too, for greetings to Merrillville, Valparaiso, Gary, East Chicago and other cities and towns in Indiana:


Gov Pence Urges Progress on Trade Agreements

Indiana Governor Mike Pence has signed a bipartisan letter with the governors of 13 other states and Northern Mariana Islands urging President Obama and Congressional leaders to make progress on three trade agreements. Pence says the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and the Trade in Services agreements have the potential to open up foreign markets to US exports and encourage further investment in the United States. The governor says in 2012, Indiana exports worldwide totaled 34-point-four billion dollars. That was a record high for the state, according to a report a few months ago from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business.
“International trade is vital to our state’s economic growth and fiscal prosperity and leads to high-paying jobs for workers and increased opportunities for businesses and our agriculture industry,” said Governor Pence. “We benefit from increased market access, and I urge President Obama and Congress to move forward on these international trade agreements.”
The Indiana Governor's Office says the state's economic growth is closely linked to international trade, and provided the following info:
·         Approximately 95 percent of the world’s consumers reside outside of U.S. borders and so we benefit from increased market access.
·         Export-supported jobs linked to manufacturing account for an estimated 8.9 percent of Indiana’s total private-sector employment.  One-quarter (24.7 percent) of all manufacturing workers in Indiana depend on exports for their jobs.
·         In 2012, Indiana exported $34.4 billion to countries around the world....

Whiting Elks Continue Christmas Day Tradition


The holiday season is one of giving and that is what the Whiting Elks Lodge is doing this Christmas Day. As part of their annual tradition, they will host over 100 recruits from the Naval Station Great Lakes for Christmas dinner. Elks P.E.R. Helen Chapman says volunteers are needed and no amount of time is too small to donate. For more, listen at News Audio On Demand here on our website....

Valparaiso City Council Says No to Gay Marriage Ban

More and more municipalities are going on record as opposing a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage in Indiana, and you can add Valparaiso to that list. The city council Monday night approved a resolution saying the primary purpose of Indiana's Constitution is to limit the power of government and protect citizens' rights. The vote was 5-0, with two council members, John Bowker and Jan Dick, absent. The Porter County Board of Commissioners also recently approved a similar resolution.
Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas and Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr are among a dozen mayors from around Indiana who earlier this month announced their opposition to the proposed amendment.
Mayor Costas says the amendment is unnecessary as Indiana law already defines a marriage as between a woman and a man. He also said it would hinder opportunities for economic growth....

NICTD: Power Outage Disrupts Some Service

Officials say South Shore train service between Michigan City and South Bend was temporarily suspended this morning due to a NIPSCO power outage. Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District reports service between Michigan City and Chicago was running on schedule.  No information on what caused the outage.
For updates:


Police Investigate Lake Station Home Invasion

In Lake Station, two people were taken into custody pending further investigation in connection with an armed home invasion in the 26-hundred block of Clay Street early Sunday. Police say a man allegedly pointed a shotgun at the residents after forcing his way around 5:30 am. The suspect's vehicle was reportedly located in a mobile home community near 10th Avenue and Old Hobart Road in Lake Station about seven hours later....

Highland Woman Wins Lucky Day Lotto

 illinois lottery
The Illinois Lottery says a Highland, Indiana, woman won 100-thousand dollars in Lucky Day Lotto. Sharon Lazur bought her ticket for the December 14th midday drawing from Santori Liquors in Lansing. Lottery officials say Lazur, who is originally from the Czech Republic, plans to donate some of the money to a local food bank. [Photo provided]...

Porter County Officer Performs CPR, Revives Baby

A four-week old baby girl is going to be okay thanks to the actions of a Porter County Sheriff's Deputy – who wasn't originally scheduled to be working that night. Sgt. Jeremy Chavez responded to a 911 call of a baby not breathing just after midnight Saturday, when on his way he was flagged down by a driver who turned out to be the mother, who had decided to leave for the hospital. Officer Chavez, who'd never performed CPR on a baby and just received his annual CPR certification about a month ago, performed CPR on the infant right then and there until medics arrived. The child was born premature, officials say, and had been hospitalized until last Friday.  At last check, the baby, who was transferred to a South Bend hospital was doing well.  [Photos provided; From left, Diamond Earl holding her baby Chyna Earl; Porter County Sheriff's Police Sgt. Jeremy Chavez]

Seasonal Job Openings at Valpo Parks for 2014

Valpo Parks is hiring for several seasonal job openings to work with adult sports and adult enrichment programming offered through the department.  In addition there are opportunities to work at Rogers-Lakewood Park during the summer season.
·  Adult Soccer Officials -- May – August
·  Adult Softball Officials -- May – July, August – September
·  Ultimate Frisbee Staff (new position)      April – July
·  Adult Enrichment Staff:
1.       Tai Chi Instructor
2.       Fitness Instructor for
          a)      new mothers getting back in shape (SAINT program, pg. 18 of brochure)
          b)      running program (pg. 25)
· Lakewood Staff -- Memorial Day – Labor Day
Full job descriptions are available at  under the “I Want to…” tab. Interested applicants can complete the online application, download a hard copy for completion or stop in to the Valpo Parks office to fill out the application. For more information, call Program Director Dan Lukes at 219.462.5144....

Hope For the Holidays Feeds over 2,170 People

Food Bank of NW Indiana
Gary, IN— The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, NIPSCO, and Jelly Pancake House partnered together this month to provide Hope for the Holidays to those in need in our communities. Through a special breakfast held on Dec. 6th at the Merrillville Jelly’s restaurant the program raised over $21,000, $20,000 from a special donation from NIPSCO. The money was used to purchase food to be distributed at giveaways on Dec. 14th and Dec. 21st in Valparaiso and Merrillvile respectively. NIPSCO also sent volunteers to assist at both distributions.

Between the two giveaways the Food Bank was able to distribute food to over 670 people. Since these individuals will share this food with their families, the Hope for the Holidays program was actually able to feed over 2,170 people.

“We’re very happy we were able to feed so many families in need this holiday season,” said Arleen Peterson, Food Bank Executive Director. “There are so many people going without in our communities, and it’s so wonderful to see companies like NIPSCO and Jelly’s stepping up to make sure those folks can also have a happy holiday.”
Any food that was left over from the two distributions was used at the Pantry on the Go distribution on Dec. 23rd.

The Food Bank of Northwest Indiana is located in Gary and supplies food to almost 100 pantries and soup kitchens in Lake and Porter Counties. In addition to distributing food to their member agencies the Food Bank also runs the BackPack, Kid’s Café, Food Rescue and Pantry on the Go programs and offers pantry referrals. Last year the Food Bank distributed over 5.1 million pounds of food, and served over 5,000 individuals a week. ...

Work Continues to Let Blind Woman Keep Her Home

Work continues to allow an elderly blind woman in Cedar Lake keep her longtime home after the small plot of land ended up on a county tax sale list and was sold out from under her for 43-dollars. During a recent Region News Makers interview Cedar Lake Town Council President Randy Niemeyer says town council members took action earlier this month directing the town attorney to look into trying to buy the property where 67-year-old Dolores Pittman has lived for over a half-century, then allowing her to stay there through possibly a life-estate agreement.
Pittman's family bought the house decades ago, and was paying rent on the land, and when a church group that used to own the land divested itself of the property and property tax bills for the parcel began mounting up. To hear more our Region News Makers interview with Cedra Lake Town Council President Niemeyer, visit

Season's Greetings from Governor Mike Pence

Gov Mike Pence
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, and that is especially true in the Hoosier State. Ever since my youth, Christmas in Indiana has been magical to me, and it still is. It is a time of the year when my present pays special tribute to my past. I cannot come to a Christmas Eve without spending some time thinking of my Dad, gone now 25 years, or my grandparents, whose loving arms and twinkling eyes still light my memories.
Every family has their own traditions, but for the Pences, it will mean church and dinner on Christmas Eve with Karen’s side of the family and Christmas morning opening presents around the tree at the Governor’s Residence with our three college-age kids.
During this special time, we do well to remember that many across our state face this season with heartache. Some have lost a job, some have been out of work for a long time, some have lost a loved one, and others have a son or daughter serving our country in a distant land. For all  of them,  I pray they find hope, comfort and joy in this blessed season. And as we enjoy our families, let’s find ways to share our blessings by being generous with our treasure and time. Let’s make an extra effort to support local charities as they provide for the needs of the most vulnerable within our communities. And let’s remember to personally reach out to that neighbor who needs a helping hand or a word of encouragement. It may be just the gift someone needs most.
On behalf of our family, I wish you and yours a truly memorable holiday season. Merry Christmas, Indiana.
Governor Mike Pence...

Proposed P3 Airport Terms to be Made Public on 1/13

Preliminary approval was given today by the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority Board to move forward with the public meeting of ordinances surrounding the proposed privatization terms. Tim Toughy, spokesperson for the public-private partnership committee says the proposed terms will be made public on January 13th, with an opportunity for public comment through January 27th. A public hearing will also take place on January 27th and the board may choose to vote on the matter that day.
The proposed terms were negotiated by the Ad Hoc committee with Aviation Facilities Company Inc., of Virginia, and include an investment of 25 million dollars in the first three years and a minimum 30 percent goal for local workforce participation as well as performance incentives for revenue growth, including profit sharing with the airport and the City of Gary. ...

Crashes Cause Road Restrictions in Porter County

porter co sheriff dept
Two separate crashes involving extractions have kept Porter County Sheriff's Police busy this afternoon and as a result traffic restrictions were put in place. Public Information Officer Sgt. Larry LaFlower says a three-vehicle crash involving two passenger vehicles and a semi took place on County Road 600 North and State Road 49. Sgt. LaFlower reports northbound traffic on State Road 49 was restricted to one-lane and County Road 600 North traffic is not being allowed to cross State Road 49. No major injuries are being reported.
Meanwhile US 6, between Mander Drive and County Road 350 East in Jackson Township, will be closed until around 6:30pm tonight for crash cleanup after a westbound vehicle crossed the center line for unknown reasons and struck an eastbound semi head-on. Sgt. LaFlower says a 49 year old Wanatah woman had to extricated from her vehicle as a result of the crash, while her 69 year old female passenger also reported an injury. The semi driver was not injured in the crash....


Head-on Crash Closes Portion of US-6 in Porter County

US-HWY 6 is closed between Mander Rd. and CR-350 E. due to a head-on crash between a semi and another vehicle. Porter County Sheriff's police say drivers should avoid the area for at least the next couple hours. 
Drivers need to avoid US Highway 6 east of Calumet Avenue in Jackson Township this afternoon. Shortly after 2:00 pm CST emergency crews responded to a report of a semi vs another vehicle in a head-on crash on US HWY 6 in Jackson Township.  
Sgt. Larry La Flower of the Porter County Sheriff's Department says at least one extrication was performed and a life flight helicopter was landing in the area. Sgt. La Flower is urges drivers to stay out of the area as the accident scene will be active for some time. Reportedly semi hauling a steel coil lost its load and is leaking diesel fuel as a result Hazmat crews are enroute to the scene. as a result of the crash, US- HW 6 is closed between Mander Dr. and CR-350 E. in Jackson Township.
Also, another crash is being reported in Porter County at State Rd. 49 and County Rd.600 N north of Valparaiso. Drivers need to be alert to arriving emergency vehicles.



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Laura-WAKE Scott-WAKE Brent-WAKE
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team
Region News Team


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